Blog by Gifts of Ireland

Five Important Irish Women

Five Important Irish Women

Here is just a few of the most famous Irish women. They range from rebel fighters to opera singers.

Maeve of Connacht

queen maeve

According to legend, Queen Maeve led the warriors of Connacht into battle against the men of Ulster to make claim to the most famous bull in Ireland. Her husband (Ailill mac Máta) was said to have has the best one but she insisted on doing better! The battle became known as the Cattle Raid of Cooley. Another battle she was associated with was with her army against lone warrior Cuchulainn. Cuchulainn was of course a famous warrior in his own right.


Grace O'Malley

grace o'malley

Born in 1530, Gráinne Ní Mháille (in Irish) grew up on Clare Island off the coast of Mayo. She was born to the famous O’Malley clan. As a young girl, she was ambitious to follow in her fathers footsteps by setting sail as a sea trader. She did much more than that as she became known as the Pirate Queen. She commanded many ships and captured the ships of her enemy who were the English. In her conquering days she even met with the highest of the royal land - Queen Elizabeth 1st. A powerful woman who lived till the age of 73.

Annie Moore

annie moore memorial

Born in Cork, Annie Moore was the first immigrant to be processed through Ellis Island in New York on January 1, 1892. She travelled over minding her brothers aged 7 and 11. A long and lonely journey to have to leave Ireland at the age of 17. She made it, and she went on to have 11 children of her own! She died in 1924 and for years there was no grave in her name, but in 2006 a beautiful Celtic Cross was unveiled over her resting place. A lovely statue depicting Annie and her brothers stands in Ellis Island.

Constance Markievicz

Countess was a famous staunch Irish Republican. Two years after taking up arms against the English in the 1916 rising, Constance became the first-ever female MP elected to the House of Commons in 1918. She was only the second woman in Europe to get a ministerial role in government. She grew up in a wealthy family from Anglo Irish background in Sligo in the West of Ireland. Despite her wealth, she made a point of later in life dedicating her time to the poor. She died at the age of 59. If you travel to Sligo you will see a beautiful statue dedicated to her on the hill she grew up on.

Catherine Hayes

catherine hayes

Not many will know of her, but Catherine was a famous Opera singer in the 19th century who was the first opera singer to tour the country of Australia. She was quoted as being the Madonna of her day. These days she would be a top rated pop star! At the age of 43 she died and in her will was a sum of £16,000 which in todays money would be about £1 million. What an achievement for Catherine.

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